This is not a crisis

My wife and I were joking about what my midlife crisis may look like.

Let’s dispense with the obvious and most-cliche sign — I’m not dumping her for a younger woman. She’s the best part of my life, and I’m not nuts.

Nor will there be a sports car or convertible in my future. They’re not practical, and every time I see a convertible now, I immediately think “midlife crisis.” I’d rather not advertise it, thanks.

As a matter of fact, I pretty much ruled out all modes of transportation. I’ve ridden on motorcycles before, but if I tried to drive one, I’d be dead within a week.

There’s a boat two houses down the street that’s for sale, but as someone who believes in the old saw of the two happiest days of a boat-owners life (the day he buys it and the day he sells it), I’m not going to convert it from a lawn ornament at that house into a lawn ornament on mine.

I’ve always been fascinated by RVs, but I’d never be able to drive one or get it in my driveway, and I’d rather fly to my long-distance vacations, anyway. Also, my wife doesn’t share the fascination.

I thought about getting a new bike earlier this year, but I’m not sure that counts.

“Up till now, life has seemed an endless upward slope, with nothing but the distant horizon in view. Now suddenly I seem to have reached the crest of the hill, and there stretching ahead is the downward slope with the end of the road in sight—far enough away, it’s true—but there is death observably present at the end.” — “How the Midlife Crisis Came to Be,” Pamela Druckerman

I had always thought the midlife crisis was one of those things that people talked about that wasn’t actually real, probably as an excuse from some guy who just got busted for cheating on his wife.

“No honey, I still love you, even though you just found me in a state of undress in my office with my 20-years-younger secretary. It’s just a … <<gears grinding, gears grinding>>… midlife crisis!”

But the quote above is actually from a paper presented by Elliott Jaques to a meeting of the British Psycho-Analytical Society in 1957. What’s troubling to me is that the person Jaques was talking about was 36.

I’m 46.

WebMD even writes about it as a possible pathway to depression.

But I still don’t know what mine would look like, although I found some of the possibilities on this list to be pretty interesting — even though the examples of Ed Miliband and Jennifer Aniston being at midlife crisis age were disturbing, since they were both younger then than I am now.

Still going to music festivals like Glastonbury — I didn’t do that when I was 26. The crowds. The smells. The music I probably wouldn’t like.

Joining Twitter so your bosses think you “get” digital — Must. Resist. The. Urge. To. Make. All. The. Jokes.

Excessively reminisce about your childhood — I’ve always done this to some degree, so I’m going to say that doesn’t count.

Splashing out on an expensive bicycle — That’s why I didn’t buy one.

I’m sure she finds something hilarious other than my hair, necklace or mustache.


Longingly look at old pictures of yourself — No chance.

Dread calls at unexpected times from your parents (fearing the worst) — I’m sorry, but this isn’t a sign of a midlife crisis; this is reality if you talk to your parents at the same time every week. I know if I call them at a weird time, I usually start with something like “Hieverything’sfineI’mcallingtotellyou” before they can start freaking out.

Go to reunion tours of your favourite bands from the 70s and 80s — I’m pretty sure that’s what hell looks like.

Read obituaries in the newspapers with far greater interest — and always check how people die — I’m told this happens someday. It hasn’t happened to me yet, and I’ll be happy if it never does.

Start taking vitamin pills — Not vitamins, but only because a doctor told me to.

Think about quitting your job and buying a bed & breakfast or a pub — I’d be the absolute worst … also, broke.

Flirt embarrassingly with people 20 years your junior — First, see the part about not leaving my wife. Second, when I was single, I was crappy at flirting with women my own age. Third, “Hey there … let me tell you about the days before texting” is quite possibly the worst pickup line in the history of ever.

Not me being told there’s something grievously wrong.

Look up your medical symptoms on the internet — Doctor Google has me convinced that I’m going to die any moment now because my toe hurts.

Take up triathlons or another extreme sport — Ummm, no, but I did start my Turbo Kick class and playing pickleball last year because I was tired of feeling like a slug, so … maybe?

I don’t like talking about midlife crises for the same reason I don’t believe in “bucket lists.” They both imply dying someday, and I just don’t want to go there.

The very nice photo above of the convertible I’ll never be driving is by Wil Stewart on Unsplash.


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